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Gaza ministry calls on UNRWA to condemn attacks on its shelters

July 30, 2014 12:44 P.M. (Updated: July 31, 2014 11:30 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza's Ministry of Interior Wednesday called upon the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to condemn the latest deadly shelling of a UN school.

"Many UNRWA schools have been targeted on the heads of people taking shelter in them," the interior ministry said in a statement.

"Dozens have been killed and UNRWA has not condemned any of these crimes," it added.

The statement also said the UN's immediate condemnation of the storage of weapons in its facilities "gave Israel the favor it had been waiting for to justify its crimes against civilians."

UNRWA announced late Tuesday that it had found rockets stored in one of its schools, condemning the groups responsible.

The ministry statement came after an Israeli shelling on a UN school in Jabaliya killed at least 16 people early Wednesday.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness did condemn the previous Israeli shelling of a UN school, which killed over a dozen in Beit Hanoun last Thursday.

Israel days later admitted to shelling the school, but said forces fired at the schoolyard when it was empty, and "rejected" reports of high civilian casualties.

Throughout the 23-day offensive Israel has repeatedly struck mosques, civilian homes, hospitals, and schools, but officials insist the army does not target civilians, and say militant groups in Gaza use civilians as human shields.

But critics note that Gaza is one of the most densely-packed population centers in the world, saying Israel's relentless bombing is bound to kill scores of civilians whether or not the human shields argument holds water.

According to rights groups, about 80 percent of the nearly 1,300 Palestinians killed in the ongoing Gaza offensive have been civilians.
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